Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green returned to practice Tuesday after missing the past two games with a lower-body contusion suffered Nov. 12 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite not experiencing any sort of discomfort during the hour-plus practice, Green will be a game-time decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday.
“This is the first day I felt good as far as the injury and I was able to actually push and skate and try to get my wind back,” Green said. “Just a matter of getting back into game shape and that’s it.”
The Capitals placed Green on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 13 Sunday and he is eligible to return as soon as he is ready to, but Coach Adam Oates is not sure if that will be Wednesday as the 28-year-old continues to work himself back into game shape.
“He’s missed a lot of time," Oates said. "It’s a big game I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s behind the 8-ball. He hasn’t been able to skate and do a lot of cardio so I’m a little bit worried about his conditioning.”
For Green to be activated from IR, the Capitals will have to make a corresponding move. Defensemen Tyson Strachan and Dmitry Orlov are the likely candidates; Strachan must clear waivers to return to the American Hockey League, while Orlov is waiver exempt.
-- Though Green returned to practice, defenseman John Erskine, on long-term injured reserve since late October as he continues to rehabilitate his left knee following offseason surgery, did not participate. Erskine, like Green, is eligible to return Wednesday, but that appears unlikely.
“I’m not sure on that," Oates said. "I know he’s feeling better, working hard. I know he’s working hard in there today. We’ll see tomorrow. A lot of decisions we have to make right now.”
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